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Are carmakers killing off the optional extra ‘upsell’?


He said the finance and PCP offers available are what drive the opportunities for Hyundai dealers, not so much an upsell as “an informative discussion”.

On smaller models in the range – the i10 and i20, for example – the ‘price walk’ between trim levels in terms of finance is typically £10 per month. From a customer perspective, this makes it much easier to balance their requirements against their budget. This, in turn, is more profitable for dealers, said Overall.


‘Keeping the buying process simple’

Suzuki GB said its current range doesn’t actually include any factory optional extras, as its focus is on the cost and keeping the buying process simple for customers, with a ‘one price’ strategy so the customer knows what they’re paying. However, its website does promote dealer-fit accessories from rear parking sensors to alloy wheels, with an ability to purchase and book fitting online.

Product manager Ed Norman said: “Suzuki is known for keeping things simple across our model range, sales activities and communications. Also, we can ensure we have regular availability of each model, which allows us to deliver cars to customers very quickly.”

At Toyota, a decline in accessory sales led to the roll out of an iPad-based tool in 2014, which dealer sales staff can pass across to the customer to browse through and make selections. It led to a 50% sales improvement network-wide.


The personalised car and the growth of the option pack

A simplified trim range may work for growing brands that want to battle the old guard and need to demonstrate added value through the technology offered as standard, but well established brands, such as Vauxhall and Audi, have customers who want more.

Peter Smyth, director of Swansway Group, whose dealerships in North West England include Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volkswagen, said: “The era of the personalised car is definitely here; it seems to be a swing against the globalisation and homogenisation which we are seeing across our high streets in the retail sector. This desire to own your unique car does have cost implications for the customer, but they are happy to pay for a bespoke car; much like having a suit tailored for you rather than off the peg at M&S.”

Much of the growth is in option packs, which bundle systems together to make it simpler for the consumer to purchase, and to provide a discount against buying each element individually.

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  • Tom Booth - 06/02/2015 09:14

    Manufacturers are taking control because the retail network can't and won't sell accessories. Sales people are only interested in Gap, finance. It's been like this for years. Well done Vauxhall for taking the initiative and protecting your brand whilst offering the customer a high spec car. Just what the customer wants. Retailers don't care about accessories and even aftersales is coming second best now. When will the retail network learn. Before its too late I hope.

  • Rob Chisholm, Managing Director, Applewood Vehicle Finance Limited - 06/02/2015 11:47

    None of the manufacturers from the far east have ever offered extensive optional equipment lists - keeping it simple has been their mantra for no reason other than the logistics of shipping cars half way around the world. Typically their customers have also been more price conscious and so are not attracted to such 'fripperies'. The European manufacturers can afford to offer a more personalised build simply because of being able to build and hsip a car in half the time of a manufacturer from, say, Japan. What is curious is that all of the manufacturers such as Nissan, Toyota and Honda who now build a significant number of vehicles in the UK/Europe have maintained such a short options list.